Ok... so that was a lot busier than i expected.
I was hoping for a nice quiet window but it all got a little manic as players left and new players joined. I had a pre-arranged transfer join on the 1st January after some intensive scouting of South America. Harold Quintero is a 20 year old Colombian with bags of pace and dribbling ability. At £700k he is a snip and with some work he could be a great winger for us.
His arrival meant i loaned out Klonaridis to QPR for the rest of he season. We are picking up £26k per month for the privilege and i suspect i will sell him on at the end of the season as he will be the 3rd choice right winger behind Cerny and Quintero.
The first shock sale was young centre half Stefanos Evangelou when Porto came calling. I really didn't want to sell but they paid £5m with 40% sell on clause and it was close enough to his minimum release fee for me to let him go. I had developed him nicely as well but that sort of money keeps this team afloat. I had a player in mind anyway and so i wrapped up a £170k deal with Sporting Lisbon for Portuguese U21 defender Tobias Figuireido. He should be a right snip at that price, had the potential to get better and will partner Gomez for the rest of the season.
I thought that was it and then a double blow hit me. First Klaas Jan Huntelaar announced he was retiring at the end of the season (not a real surprise given his age) than Inigo Lekue suddenly asked if he could rejoin Athletic Bilbao having just moved from them in the summer on a free transfer. I didn't want a whingy player on the books so i said yes and they immediately came in with a bid. A £3.7m bid plus a hefty sell on was arranged for a player who was here just 6 months. He was leading the league on average rating and it is a massive blow but that sort of profit is what i have to look out for.
With just a few days left in the window i was panicing a bit and a little flushed for cash. I went big for a striker for the future as i went back to South America and Colo Colo for 18 year old Andres Martinez. A Chiliean International already and to me a brilliant striker. 20 For determination, decent finishing stats and nice physicals make me think he could turn into a wonderkid with the right training and gametime. £5.5m was what i paid and i agreed he could stay in Chile for the next 6 months. This one could be the star i build my team around!
On transfer deadline day I thought about keeping young Valmas in the team but sold him on before having a massive panic buy and buying in James Tavernier. I remembered him being pretty useful in the Rangers succession save and at £2.1m he should be resellable for similar money. His Free kicks might be worth it alone.
A very busy window and the team think the defence is now too weak to compete. I disagree as the new boys are good enough and we are going to be a little short at left back but we played Hult there all season last year without a problem. It was a record spending season as well as record income season as we finish for the 3rd season on the trot in transfer profit.
AE Larissa were easily dealt with in the 2nd leg as we ran away 4-1 winners to put us into the quarter finals. The worst possible tie was given as Olympiacos came out of the hat. 1 leg down and it finished 1-0 to them meaning we are going to have to go away and win to keep our position in the competition. They are the only team to have inflicted any defeat on me in this competition and might cause our exit again this year. I think we may go out in the next game preventing a double
The last paragraph may have given it away as we are looking strong for a league title. We won't finish undefeated having lost 1-0 to Atromitos in a dire game (It came right in the middle of the transfer frenzy) but we have a nice healthy lead going into the final 12 games of the season.
In the month we beat Olympiacos 3-0, Levadiakos 3-1 and Trikala 3-0 before losing to Atromitos. 39 goals scored already is only 3 behind last year's total and if we can keep that up we should take home our 2nd title in 3 years. Defensively we are strong with only 9 conceded but the backline is going to be tested from now on with Hult the only LB and both Tavernier and Figuireido settling into the side.
It was a great start to the month and hopefully the last two games have just been blips in what has seen some excellent football. The front line can really start moving the ball well and although no one is smashing them in on a regular basis when you have the likes of Jean, Huntelaar, Reine-Adelaide and Cerny someone is always on hand to score.
February is going to be key though as our first 4 games of the month are PAOK, Olympiacos (Cup), Olympaicos and AEK. If we can come out of them 4 with no defeats than i would fully expect us to win this league and go straight into the Champions League group stages.